I watched this video that my dad posted of someone playing Reverie by Claude Debussy (because my mother played it at her senior recital in college) and I broke inside. The tears wouldn’t stop flowing as I rocked myself and said, “no, Mommy… no….” I haven’t called her Mommy since before Lindsay was born, but I did today. At the time, I thought an almost-six-year-old who helped take care of a baby was too big to call her mother “Mommy.” Having a baby sister when I was old enough to really help was a big deal. I walked taller immediately. There were times I was jealous of my mother because Lindsay had to be fed and therefore, she was “taking her away from me.” I mean, logically, I couldn’t let Lindsay starve, but my life got better when we switched her to bottles… and worse when she learned to hold it herself. 😉
Actually, when Lindsay started doing things by herself, she never wanted to stop. Pretty much her first words were “by MYSELF!”
Incidentally, given how much I hate to drive now, it is ironic that my first words were “car keys.”
We were so much different as children (more alike now)- about as opposite as they come. I was physically delayed and didn’t walk properly until I was almost two, given an EXTRAORDINARY amount of physical therapy that my mother cried all the way through because even though she knew it would help me in the long-term, she hated watching me in pain as she bent my legs. Being so physically delayed, I had a lot of time to sit around and think about things. While Lindsay is the one with all the cute mispronounced words and malapropisms (my favorite being “stunk” for “skunk,” because accuracy), I could speak in full sentences at about a year- which caused a woman in the grocery store to accuse my mother of throwing her voice, because as a preemie, I looked like I was about six months old.
Lindsay was much more physically active, and constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know why she didn’t want to sit quietly and do things, so she was a constant pain in my ass when she was a toddler, whereas I was an old lady even then. My mother was much more protective of me than she was of Lindsay, because Lindsay didn’t have the physical ailments that I did. In some ways, it backfired, because it made me overly afraid that I couldn’t do things, and wouldn’t even try…. which is why it is even more funny that my first girlfriend was an athlete. Talk about opposite children…. At the time, I really didn’t understand why my mother felt so overprotective. Looking back, I see it perfectly. She treated Lindsay and me differently because her experiences of us were so disparate.
My mother was so glad she was having a second girl, though, because she wanted to give me the relationship she’d had with her own sister growing up. However, we did not have brothers to bind us together against them as they did, so while I have lots of fond childhood memories of Lindsay, we weren’t as close as children as we are now. Lindsay didn’t even start school until I was in sixth grade, so we didn’t have the same friends, the same interests, the same anything until college, when I went back to University of Houston and we ended up in Con Law together…. where everyone just called us “the girls.” In study groups and in going out after class, no one wanted to invite one of us and not the other, so it was easy shorthand. “Did you invite the girls?”
We’re even closer now, because I view Lindsay as my mother’s biggest gift to me now that she’s gone… because, of course, it’s not that she wanted another child. It’s that she wanted to give me a present…. and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I feel that perhaps taking the Klonopin allowed me to keep all of this bottled up, because I have not taken it today, and finally, all the darkness I’ve been feeling spilled onto the floor in a heap, and in writing about Lindsay, I feel better… a lightness of being.
There’s just one more thing.
I’ve always taken care of Lindsay when my mom wasn’t around, and now I know there’s money on the table for pizza…. but she’s not coming home.